1) I think the best advice I can give is that if you are successful in law school, you should continue doing the things that made you successful. So, for example, if you are someone that makes your own outlines to study for finals, then you should do the same during bar prep instead of just relying on the outlines provided. If the thought of making flashcards is exciting to you, you will find it just as great during bar prep. Hated studying in the library? Don’t go there. This really isn’t the time to experiment, so go with what you know works best for you.
2) You just have to put in the time. During bar prep, it’s actually frighteningly easy to blow off studying for a Netflix bingewatch session. There are some days where you can (and should) give yourself a break, but you have to be honest with yourself about whether you’re putting in the kind of time needed to gain exposure to all the tested subjects. I personally did not focus on taking bar courses during law school (I took Evidence, California Civil Procedure, Admin law, Con Law II in addition to environmental law courses, a clinic, and a judicial externship), and therefore had to learn new material during bar prep. Most of the new material was not particularly difficult to learn, but it was a challenge to make sure I built in enough time in my schedule to gain sufficient familiarity with them.
3) The bar exam is really just a test of your memory. So, during the daytime, I focused on completing assignments in accordance with my bar company’s schedule to learn the substantive law topics, but during the evenings, I made sure to carve out time just to memorize everything. This was not built into my bar company’s study schedule. The way that I remembered everything was by creating a running list detailing things like the elements of all the crimes, elements of torts, requirements for adverse possession, types of easements, etc. This list obviously became quite long towards the end, and took me about 6 hours to run through the whole list once. For things I had difficulty memorizing, I wrote them out over and over. I blocked off at least 3 hours each night during the last 4 weeks of prep to go through the list and focus solely on memorization.
4) With regards to the eternal debate about whether to take bar classes versus pursuing courses pertaining to your interests, I actually learned a lot of bar exam law taking courses I enjoyed. For example, in my environmental law classes, we went through important concepts based in tort law, constitutional law, and even contracts, which was helpful for bar prep. I also gained significant exposure to topics like crim pro through my judicial externship. I’m not entirely convinced that you absolutely have to choose between taking classes you are interested in, and bar classes, because it’s possible for them to converge.
If you have questions for me or need advice, please feel free to contact me.